Add to Calendar Europe/London DD/MM/YYYY 3/11/2015 18:303/11/2015 21:00Autumn LecturePrince Philip House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG

The Dambusters and escape from Colditz Castle – the engineering from two famous feats of WWII

Bringing engineering to life through some of the most famous stories from the Second World War.

This lecture will flesh out the background to two recent Channel Four documentaries, looking in particular at how live reconstruction can tell us so much more than a reading of eye-witness accounts.

Colditz Castle and the Dambusters raid are two of the most iconic events of the dark days at the end of World War II. In Colditz, a group of British officers dreamt up the most audacious escape plan in history.They constructed a two-man glider out of bed sheets and floorboards in order to fly to freedom from a secret workshop in the roof of the castle. And until now, the last time a dam was blown up by a bouncing bomb was in May 1943.Together with Windfall Films, Dr Hunt and his team designed a rig to suspend a spinning bomb under a DC4, and built a 10m-high dam especially for the purpose of blowing it up.

This lecture describes some of the many challenges they encountered, and  put into perspective the wartime achievements of Barnes Wallis, his engineers and airmen, and the Colditz PoWs who built – but never flew – the glider.

See more images and videos of Dr Hugh Hunt's work


6.30pm      Registration opens

                  Tea and coffee served

7.00pm      Welcome and introduction

7.05pm      Lecture by Dr Hugh Hunt

7.45pm      Question and answer session

8.15pm      Networking reception

9.00pm      Close 


Tickets cost £12 (including VAT).

For more details about the event, please contact Katie Jones

Speaker biography

Dr Hugh Hunt is a Reader in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Trinity College. He is the winner of the Academy’s 2015 Rooke Award for public engagement. He took his first degree in Engineering from Melbourne University, Australia.

His research in Cambridge focuses on vibration and dynamics, in particular the control of vibration from underground railways, bells and clocks, sustainable energy (especially wind turbines and wave power), climate change and geoengineering. This last topic is his main preoccupation through the SPICE project (stratospheric particle injection for climate engineering) which is researching methods to cool the planet in order to combat climate change.

Hugh is also a recent entrant into the world of TV documentaries (Attack of the ZeppelinsEscape from ColditzDambusters: building the bouncing bombFifth Gear: Looping the loop), recently winning several awards, including the Royal Television Society's Best History Documentary award for Dambusters: building the bouncing bomb.Through these documentaries, he brings real engineering at a large scale into the living rooms of millions of potential engineers.